State agencies work to solve transportation, resource issues as winter storms leave Texas

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — On Friday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it’s officially out of emergency operations, but that doesn’t mean Texans are out of the woods yet.

“We are completely back to normal operations,” ERCOT CEO Bill Magnus said in a virtual press conference Friday morning. “There may still be some outages that have to do with fallen trees or broken equipment that are out there in the electric company systems.”

Even as power slowly returns and temperatures begin to rise, some issues linger.

Michael Lee with the Texas Department of Transportation said crews are working to clear roads as quickly as possible, but it will still be a couple days until all major roads are safe.

“Hopefully coming out Monday, where the system would be back to operating normally,” Lee said.

During that clearing process, Lee said TxDOT noticed the same problem many Texans have been facing: gas stations short on fuel with no recent deliveries.

But, since TxDOT has its own supply, it’s been able to assist other state agencies during the crisis.

“We have supplied fuel out of those tanks to different parts of the state to keep generators running in hospitals,” Lee explained, but that supply is limited. “It’s been a challenge.”

During a news conference Friday from the State Operations Center, Gov. Greg Abbott said help is on the way to keep all delivery trucks moving.

“I’m allowing the use of off-road diesel on Texas roads. I’m also working with comptroller Glenn Hegar, and we have requested a fuel waiver from the EPA to allow for the use of all forms of diesel on Texas road,” Abbott said Friday.

Off-road diesel isn’t less safe, it’s just diesel fuel dyed red to show it is untaxed and available only for off-road fuel uses.

More water deliveries are also coming, to help the 14 million Texans currently facing issues with their water systems.

“Since yesterday, we’ve delivered and transported about 1.7 million bottles of water,” Chief Nim Kidd with the Texas Division of Emergency Management said at Friday’s briefing.

“We will continue to deliver water by bottles for as long as it takes,” Chief Kidd said.

For more details about the governor’s briefing on Friday, click here.

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